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Economy expands 2.5 percent in the third quarter

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(Read caption) This chart shows the Real Gross Domestic Product (in billions) over the past decade. Since bottoming out in 2009, GDP has been growing steadily.

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Today, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released their first "estimate" of the Q3 2011 GDP report showing that the economy continued to expand with real GDP increasing at an annualized rate of just 2.5% from Q2 2011.

On a year-over-year basis real GDP increased 1.62% while the quarter-to-quarter non-annualized percent change was 0.61%.

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The latest quarterly results indicate that the only notable source of weakness in the economy came from government expenditures with non-defense spending declining 3.7% while state and local spending declined declined by 1.3%.

Fixed investment purportedly made notable contributions to Q3 GDP with non-residential fixed investment increasing 16.3% from Q2 2011 while residential fixed investment increased 2.4% over the same period.

Personal consumption expenditures also increased notably increasing 2.4% from Q2 2011.

Keep in mind that these results are likely very poorly estimated and are sure to be revised notably in following quarters and even years to come.